Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
I read all the hype from Audible regarding this book as it being the "new Help". I was very disappointed. First, I listened to The Help, and recommended it to my teenage daughters. They read it before movie came out and loved it. However, The Help would be G or PG, while this would be a hard R rating. There are numerous descriptions of sexual acts that add little to the story, including visits to brothels by the main characters. Second, all except one character have few redeeming personality traits. Most are drunks, drug addicts, womanizers, and home wreckers. Even the major character Dee sleeps with a married man and gets pregnant by him.
In The Help, there were characters of courage who took a risk to tell their stories. But none of the characters in this book show any bravery whatsoever. Most are battling with addictions and just stumbling through their lives getting drunk and committing adultery. The major character, Dee, survives just because she is so pretty. The other main character, an Italian innkeeper, while of deeper moral fiber, has his own major character faults.
I also found the ending to be rather contrived. Dee learns Italian ( but never returns to Italy for a visit?) and the Italian Innkeeper seeks her out after 50 years (after only knowing her for 3 days.) It reminded me of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, where just because you are in Italy everything is 10 times more romantic.
Just before this I listened to the Count of Monte Cristo. Although a classic, I would rate it much more highly than this book. It also spans decades with a story of revenge, loss, and redemption that is much more believable. If you are going to use an Audible credit, then purchase that instead.
I listen to audiobooks when I drive and when I hike.
I saw this novel compared to "The Help", and was surprised because "The Help" was much better than "Beautiful Ruins" - at least in my opinion. This was a good story, but not an unforgettable one.
Yes, the story is one of sadness and hope, reminding us not to waste even one moment of our life
Probably Pasquale as he had the most integrity and courage of all the characters.
Yes, although I found the beginning a little difficult to get through. However, the narrative is exceptional and quickly captures your imagination.
Definitely worth the listen!
50 something listener with eclectic taste, but no patience with a poor story line. Midnight's Children is my favorite book ever.
This book was a real disappointment. The editor's reviews compared it to The Help - not even close.
it was all over the place hard time of keeping up with who was who and at what point in their life it was.
Highly recommend, much easier to listen to than to read.
When De and Pasquale were about to be reunited after many years. I couldn't wait to hear the story.
Yes I wanted to but of course couldn't. I came back to it as often as I was able. Then I was sad that there wasn't more when it was over.
Great audio, this book would easily get people hooked on audio books.
This book drew me in from the first sentence, and I could not stop listening until the last. The yearning of the characters, the bittersweetness of their fates, the interweaving of such disparate lives - all this could have devolved into something cringeworthy and manipulative. But Jess Walter is brilliant and his marvelous use of language, both english and italian - his obvious empathy for his characters - his wonderful humor and tenderness are what make this tale a gift to listen to. Ballerini's reading is pure pleasure - and I especially enjoyed the pure musicality of his italian.
The stories of the various characters are expertly woven together. The expressiveness of this book is just lovely. And the performance is amazing. I thouroughly enjoyed this listen.
I would never have bought this book had it not been for the Audible recommendation and the great reviews. Best decision ever. Absolutely perfect in every way. Narration was stellar and the story was beautifully written.
Yes it is a love story, in fact many different ones woven in the tale. So beautiful it makes you ponder the tittle. The characters are so well developed you wish you could meet these people. Some you want to put your arms around, and some you want to kick. The author transports us semlessly betwen the past history of the characters and present day.